Children's Hospital Colorado

Otolaryngology Research at Children’s Hospital Colorado

As a leading children’s hospital with one of the largest otolaryngology teams in the country, we see thousands of children a year for ear, nose and throat (ENT) conditions. Due to the large volume and wide range of otolaryngologic illnesses and diseases we see, we’re in the unique position to advance our understanding of these conditions through research.

The otolaryngology team at Children’s Hospital Colorado has varied research expertise that spans the breadth of the field and includes basic, translational, clinical, safety and device-related research. Doctors in our Department of Pediatric Otolaryngology focus on understanding the causes of common and rare ENT complaints to improve and optimize treatments for children with otolaryngologic conditions.

It all starts with a Q:

For the latest cutting-edge research and innovative collaborations in pediatric otolaryngology, read more in Q: Advances and Answers in Pediatric Health.

Discover more in Q:

Advancements in otolaryngology

As otolaryngology covers a wide range of conditions, our research must cover a wide spectrum as well. Recent research has addressed areas such as head and neck tumors, complex microbe-host interactions that lead to recurrent and complicated respiratory illnesses, tracheoesophageal fistulas and oral papilloma. We also research broader topics that have implications for several fields in pediatric care, including a non-narcotic strategy for pediatric surgical treatment.

Basic and translational science

  • Kenny Chan, MD, Sarah Gitomer, MD and Brian Herrmann, MD focus on understanding the complex microbe-host interactions that lead to recurrent and complicated otitis media, tonsillitis, sleep disordered breathing and sinusitis.
  • Hermann is working to understand how the immune system changes in different syndromes predisposed to adenotonsillar disease.

Clinical research

  • Herrmann and Jeremy Prager, MD evaluate rarer disease entities including head and neck tumors, tracheoesophageal fistulas and oral papillomas. This work also involves a review of squamous papilloma of the oral cavity and oropharynx, which appears to be a different disease entity than HPV-related recurrent respiratory papillomatosis, even when HPV positive. This research aims to better identify rare genetic variants and cell-specific expression profiles in children with these conditions.
  • Gitomer is leading a clinical trial of a novel hearing device for children with conductive hearing loss.

Device innovation

  • Norman Friedman, MD and Dr. Herrmann received funding for the development of an innovative device to improve medical and surgical treatments of ENT conditions. This includes creating medical prototype devices to diagnose sleep apnea more accurately and developing medical prototype devices for minimally invasive endoscopic ear procedures.

Patient safety

  • Soham Roy, MD leads research into how to prevent patient safety events such as intra-operative fires. This analysis includes research into OR safety, surgical fires and improvement in safer devices to improve patient safety standards, along with communication strategies and technical improvements for prevention of adverse events for all surgeons. These events occur with more regularity than many think and continue to pose a threat to providing high-quality patient care in the surgical arena.

Hospital efficiency and effectiveness

  • Dr. Prager is examining oral anesthesia compared to IV dexamethasone to better understand their efficacy. This is important considering that the availability of these two delivery methods has been affected by supply chain disruption.

Educational improvements

  • Dr. Hermann is working to create better temporal bone models to assist with ear surgery education of ENT trainees.
"As surgeons who take care of children with such a broad range of acute and chronic concerns, it's easy to ask, ‘how could we do this better?’ Our team works to come up with innovative solutions with the shared goal of taking better care of children and preventing the conditions we see day-to-day.”
Sarah Gitomer, MD

The ENT department takes part in numerous international conferences and hosts multidisciplinary clinics to help our patients and share knowledge with our contemporaries:

  • Microtia Multidisciplinary Clinic: Our ENT Microtia Clinic presented three oral presentations and two posters at the International Congress on Bone Conduction Hearing and Related Technologies (OSSEO), hosted by the University of Colorado School of Medicine, Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Surgery. These presentations highlighted our expertise as international experts and innovators in multidisciplinary and lifelong care of children with microtia and atresia.
  • Aerodigestive Multidisciplinary Clinic: The University of Colorado School of Medicine, Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Surgery hosted the 11th Annual National Meeting of the Aerodigestive Society on the Anschutz campus. The event hosted speakers and panelists from North and South America, as well as Australia, to discuss updates and the future of aerodigestive medicine.

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